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Roman Times Quarterly ~ Second Quarter 2762 a.U.c. (2009 CE)


Roman Times Quarterly is a publication providing insight on the very best of ancient Roman life.


A Summary of This Issue from the News Reader in the Forum:


  • From the Editor-in-Chief: THE SERIOUSNESS OF OUR RES PUBLICA – WE NEED TO HAVE A BASE IN ROME.

  • Ethics III ~ Aristotle: It is to Aristotle that we owe the notion of the final end, or, as it was later called by medieval scholars, the summum bonum--the overall good for human beings.

  • Roman Kilns Along the Tagus Estuary: The first known Roman Pottery Kilns on the Tagus Estuary were discovered, and identified in 1986. The site which was found nearby the former residence of the Quinta do Rouxinol site. This site was almost totally urbanized during the decade of the 1980’s. The site is now declared a National Monument.

  • Roman City of Lucentum at Alicante, Spain: The vision of the map of the ruins of Tossal Manises (Lucentum) shows a result of space resulting from continuous evolution and transformation of inhabited areas. The archaeological reports tell us, that the origin is put at the end of the 5th century B.C., and at the beginning of 4th century B.C.

  • Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus: Father of the Brothers Gracchii: Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, the father of the Gracchii was able to a many personal accomplishments in his lifetime. He held the office of censor in 169 BC and served twice as consul, first in 177 and then again in 163. Due to his achievements, two triumphs were celebrated in his honor.

  • Roman Trade, Industry and Labor ~ Part II: Population: By the standards of the modern day the death and birthrates of the Roman world were extremely high. The Roman endured many concerns that we don’t even consider in many parts of our world such as incurable sickness, long term suffering, and sudden death from causes usually unknown or wrongly defined.

  • History of the Gallo-Roman Period ~ Part I: 125 B.C. to 52 B.C.: The conquest of Gaul can be said to have been the most prosperous enterprise undertaken by Roman arms. This enterprise actually started with trade in 125 B.C. and later when the Roman Republic began to fear for it’s lucrative tin trade route from Spain to Italy through the Greek trading colony of Massalia (modern Marseille), which was threatened by the large Celtic Tribes of the Massif Central.

  • Marcus Aurelius: Meditations: Selected writings from his book, Meditations, Book 8, verses 4 and 5

  • Roman Empire Word Find


From the Editor-in-Chief

CIV-Caeso Fabius Buteo Quintilianus

Caeso Fabius Buteo Quintilianus

by Caeso Fabius Buteo Quintilianus


Salvete Omnes!

THE SERIOUSNESS OF OUR RES PUBLICA – WE NEED TO HAVE A BASE IN ROME

To me our Res Publica is a serious business. Not saying that we can't have fun, we should, but our goal is serious. In our "Declaration" we claim "sovereignty" which is a serious business indeed. In short words we denounce violence and any kind of intimidation to reach that goal.

We declare ourselves to be a nation striving for “international understanding" and to be "open to people of all nationalities and races". The base of our Res Publica is said to be based on the "preservation of our common classical foundation, and" meant "to breathe new life and honor into all Western Civilization through the restoration of ancient Piety, Virtue, and Civilitas."

These are serious words indeed. It is also clear that we strive to uphold and honor the ancient Gods. Now what do we see in reality in Nova Roma, our Res Publica? We see infighting and humiliating language. We see people just talking, never taking any practical step forward. We see people who never have seen the city of Rome talking and talking, but no practical proposals.

There is nothing wrong if one has never visited Rome, but if one thinks it is possible build a new Rome without actually visiting the real Rome to see the Forum Romanum, the Palatine Hill and all the other ancient sites, to breathe its air and to taking its views, then something is really wrong.

In Italy and in the former Roman provinces there is a lot to do to preserve Roman culture in real life. I accept that we will probably always disagree on lesser issues, but I want to see us become as serious as our declaration. Who knows if we ever may be able to do what we dream of, but to convince people of our seriousness we need a base in the real city of Rome in Italy.

If You, dear reader, ever have smelled the air in Rome, if You ever have crossed the Forum Romanum, then You know what I mean. Rome still IS the center of the western world and a world center of Roman culture. We need to make our presence there much more visible. A bank account is only the beginning, a local office open part time another much more visible sign. A temple to the Gods (as in the "ProDIIS project, A temple for the Gods") and in he long run an apartment or small house in the neighborhood or Rome. We need to be present in Rome.

In trying to achieve these things in real life we will earn the respect of all Roman-friendly Italians who now don't really take us seriously. We need to be a international Roman organization with high goals, based on Italian soil and in the minds of our Italian siblings. Together with our Italian citizens, our citizens from all Nova Roman provinces/countries we need to strive to build a truly international Roman organization based in Rome in Italy. Only by doing this I think we may be taken seriously by those interested in Roman culture and religion all over the world.


Valete,

Caeso Fabius Buteo Quintilianus

Editor-in-Chief, Publisher/Owner


Ethics III ~ Aristotle

2-09a

Aristotle was born in Stageira, Chalcidice, in 384 BC

by Marcus Audens


It is to Aristotle that we owe the notion of the final end, or, as it was later called by medieval scholars, the summum bonum--the overall good for human beings. This can be found, Aristotle wrote, by asking why we do the things that we do. If we ask why we chop wood, the answer may be to build a fire, it may be to keep warm; but, if we ask why we keep warm the answer is likely to be simply that it is pleasant to be warm, and it is unpleasant to be cold. We can ask the same kind of questions about other activities; the answer always points, Aristotle thought, to what he called eudemonia. This Greek word id usually translated as “happiness,” but that is only accurate if we understand that term in its broadest sense to mean living a fulfilling and satisfying life. Happiness in the narrower sense of joy or pleasure would certainly be a concomitant of such a life, but it is not happiness in this narrower sense that is the goal.

In searching for the overall good, Aristotle separates what may be called instrumental goods from intrinsic goods. The former are good only because they lead to something else that is good; the latter are good in themselves. The distinction is neglected in the early lists of ethical precepts that were surveyed above, but it is of the first importance if a firmly grounded answer to questions about how one ought to live is to be obtained.

Aristotle is also responsible for much later thinking about the virtues that one should cultivate. In his most important ethical treatise, the Ethica Nicomachea (Nicomachean Ethics), he sorts through the virtues as they were properly understood in his day, specifying in each case what is truly virtuous, and what is mistakenly thought to be so. Here, he uses the idea of the Golden Mean, which is essentially the same idea as the Buddha’s middle path between self-indulgence and selfrenunciation.

Thus courage for example is the mean between two extremes: one can have the deficiency of it, which is cowardice, or one can have an excess of it which is foolhardiness. The virtue of friendliness, to give another example, is the mean between obsequiousness and surliness.

Aristotle does not intend the idea of the mean to be applied mechanically in every instance: he says that in case of the virtue of temperance, or self restraint, it is easy to find the excess of self-indulgence in the physical pleasures, but the opposite error, insufficient concern for such pleasures scarcely exists. (The Buddha, with his experience of the ascetic life of renunciation would not have agreed.) This caution in the application of the idea is just as well, for while it may be a useful device for moral education, the notion of a mean cannot help us to discover new truths about virtue. We can only arrive at the mean if we already have a notion as to what is an excess and what is a defect of the trait in question, but this is not something to be discovered by a morally neutral inspection of the trait itself.

We need a prior conception of the virtue in order to decide what is excessive and what is defective. To attempt to use the doctrine of the mean to define the particular virtues would be to travel in a circle. Aristotle’s list of virtues differs from later Christian lists. Courage, temperance, and liberality are common to both periods, but Aristotle also includes a virtue that literally means, “greatness of the soul.” This is the characteristic of holding a high opinion of oneself. The corresponding vice of excess is unjustified vanity, but the vice of deficiency is humility, which for Christians is a virtue.

Aristotle’s discussion of the virtue of justiceships has been the starting point for almost all Western accounts. He distinguishes between justice in the distribution of wealth or other goods and justice in reparation, as for example, in punishing someone for a wrong that he has done. The key element of justice according to Aristotle is treating cases alike--an idea that has set later thinkers the task of working out which similarities (need, desert, talent) are relevant. As with the notion of virtue as a mean, Aristotle’s conception of justice provides a framework that needs to be filled in before it can be put to use.

Aristotle distinguished between theoretical and practical wisdom. His concept of practical wisdom is significant, for it goes beyond merely choosing the means best suited to whatever ends or goals one may have. The practically wise person also has the right ends. This implies that one’s ends are not purely a matter of brute desires or feelings: the right ends are something that can be known. It also gives rise to the problem that faced Socrates: How is it that people can know the difference between good and bad and still choose what is bad? As noted earlier Socrates simply denied that this could happen, saying that those who did not choose the good must, appearances notwithstanding, be ignorant of what it is. Aristotle said that this view of Socrates was, “plainly at variance with the observed facts,” and instead offered a detailed account of the ways in which one can possess knowledge and yet not act on it because of a lack of control or a weakness of will.


Reference: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 18, “Ethics,” pages 448-450


Roman Kilns Along the Tagus Estuary

by Marcus Audens


“The mouth of the Tagus is as broad as twenty stadia (about 3700 m) and with such great depth it may be navigated by boats with load capacities in excess of ten thousand amphorae.”
-- Strabo, “Geography” Book III, 3.1 (end of 1st Century B.C. and beginning of the 1st Century A.D.)


2-09b

Quinta do Rouxinol

The first known Roman Pottery Kilns on the Tagus Estuary were discovered, and identified in 1986. The site which was found nearby the former residence of the Quinta do Rouxinol site. This site was almost totally urbanized during the decade of the 1980’s. The site is now declared a National Monument. In the above year, during the construction of various sanitary works, it was possible to finally confirm several long-standing and traditional local stories and traditions which related to certain archaeological remains dating as far back as the Roman era at this site.

The subsequent emergency archaeological excavation was carried out, with the site remaining stationary and then followed by extensive field work through 1991. This field work was carried out through the auspices of the research project, “Roman Settlements on the Left Bank of the Tagus Estuary.”

Pottery in the Roman era constituted an activity which required special skills and special materials and tools with which to carry out a successful establishment. Major urban centers during the Roman period maintained their own pottery production facilities complete with buildings, kilns, and raw materials, usually relying on contracting specialized potters to work the kilns to maintain the needs of the community.

However, in a few cases these local potteries grew into major centers of very broad variety and large numbers of finished products. The centers of production were almost always in constant production turning out such objects as: construction bricks, flat and fluted tiles, storage receptacles, kitchen and table ware, as well as transport containers (amphorae) and a variety of different types of lamps.

It has been possible to preserve and study part of two ovens that since the late 2nd Century through the early decades of the 5th Century produced a wide variety of pottery goods. There are also the remains of a third oven and an additional small combustion structure. Two large pits were found packed full of broken pieces or those rejected during the production process. These abundant and diversified finds well illustrate the role that pottery played in catering to the needs of local populations as well as the large nearby Roman city of Olisipo (modern day Lisbon, Portugal), and at the same time satisfying the storage needs for processing centers across the region.

2-09c

Operational chain of Roman era pottery production

Skilled potters would opt for locations in close proximity to both sources of raw materials (clay, firewood and water) as well as to centers of consumption for their product. They would also seek to capitalize on whatever means of transport were available whether by land, river or sea.

After the selection and preparation of the clays, the potter endows the mass with shape using either a potter's wheel or moulds for this purpose. The piece is then left to dry before firing in the wood burning kilns. After firing the piece is left to cool, and then removed from the kilns, and the ceramic pieces would be inspected for flaws. The flawed pieces cast into a broken pieces pit and the good pieces stored away carefully to await transport or local sale. The clay from damaged pieces that were not fired would be recycled. Pieces of broken pottery resulting from breakage or quality control during and after the firing process would build up in large piles or pits set aside for the purpose.

To be continued . . .


Reference: Ecomuseu Municipal do Seixal / 2009, Quinta Dos Rouxino, Roman Kilns In the Tagus Estuary, Corrios / Seixal, Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Lisbon, Portugal, 2009.


Roman City of Lucentum at Alicante, Spain

2-09d

The ruins of Tossal Manises (Lucentum)

by Marcus Audens


The Origins

The vision of the map of the ruins of Tossal Manises (Lucentum) shows a result of space resulting from continuous evolution and transformation of inhabited areas. The archaeological reports tell us, that the origin is put at the end of the 5th century B.C., and at the beginning of 4th century B.C. It would be the establishment of the introduction of the archaeological investigation called Iberico Pleno (Complete Iberica), the period of maturity of the Iberian world epoch that lasted two centuries from the Roman Conquest to the end of 3rd century B.C. The entrance of the Mediterranean power would follow with the independence of the Iberian towns, although it was not a cultural feature of theirs, that they remained vigilant until the beginning of the 1st century A.D., the beginning of the High Roman Empire.

We can approximately establish the act of birth of the settlement in part by the ceramic materials, above all the imported ones (Attica ceramics, with black varnish and red figures). Nevertheless we know very little now about the extension of the village or of it’s architectural or urban features from the end of the 4th century to the 3rd century B.C. A seeming contradiction is given because the personal property of the 4th century B.C. and the better part of the 3rd century B.C. are from outside their place of origin.

They have found isolated items, without exact knowledge of the circumstances of their place of origin, or well recovered in recent excavations, formed part of a more modern strata filled with material long after construction. From the forthcoming materials from previous excavations one doesn’t know the security of the place or the discovery conditions. Ceramics and other elements of the 4th century B.C. and the greater part of the 3rd century B.C. haven’t been found to be forming part or related to established architectural structures of that period. Only recent excavations on the summit of the hill, around the Roman Mosaics, have contributed to the structures that one can place in the 3rd century B.C., although the grade of obliteration of the same doesn’t allow for more precise determination.

However, without a doubt there existed on that hill an inhabited Tossal de Manises during the Iberico Pleno, and this is one thing that we cannot question. In the first place by the material found in the deposit at the site, secondly, the existence of another important necropolis (burial site) of La Albufereta at the foot of the western slope, near the former wetland and close to the old humid zone.

This Iberian burial group which was analyzed separately by Dr. F. Sala Selles was occupied in the dark ages. From there one can proceed with even older material, such as the jonia documents and an Attica crater of the style with black figures, both dated from the 6th century B.C., which would raise the chronology of the occupation of the zone in the Iberia period. This would lead us to immediately consider another Iberian village: El Tossaletde les Bases or Cerro de Las Balsas.

Formerly known it has recently been excavated by the municipal services of the Town Council of Archaeology Alicante. This is a small fortified establishment situated on an elevation on the western side of the old Albuferata, 300 meters distance from Tossal. Its period of validity has been established in the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C., but does not rule out a more ancient origin. Whatever the case and pending further investigations, two Iberian establishments control the north and east; natural port, the inlet of the lagoon and Albufereta, sheltered from the winds to the North and East. A commercial hub is well connected to the interior area.

To travel from the Valley de Agnost to the important natural access of the river Vinalopo an make your way North following the valleys of Jijona Torremanzanas and, one travels to the port of Benifallim, which gives access to Comtat-Alcoi, whose most prominent center over all the 3rd century B.C. is the great Iberian village of La Serreta. Precisely, the commercial importance of the enclave at Albufereta warned over littering in the 3rd century B.C. with empty containers, Punic amphorae of wine, and salted oil produced in diverse areas (central Mediterranean, Ibiza, and the Strait of Gibraltar), accompanied by other common ceramics of the same environment and ceramics of luxurious Italian black lacquer coat (so-call heat stress, small stamps and Herakescalen) commercialized, probably by Punic agents.

It is very possible that the enclave Albufereta was centrally the best part of the commerce of the southern Valencian area in the 3rd century B.C. when other coastal centers had disappeared at the end of 4th century B.C as the settlement of Picola in Santa Pola, closer related to Alcudade Elche, and La Illeta del Campello.


Reference: Manuel Olcina Domenech, Rafael Perez Jimenez, La Ciudad Ibero-Romano de Lucentum, (El Tossal de Manises, Alicante), Diputacion Provincial de Alicante, Departmento de Arquitectura, Alicante, Espana, 2001 (ISBN 84-87032-48-6), Paperbound Translation by Marcus Audens


Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus Maior: Father of the Brothers Gracchii

2-09e

Tiberius Gracchus Maior

by L. Vitellius Triarius


Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, or Tiberius Gracchus Maior (to distinguish him from his son), the father of the Gracchii was able to a many personal accomplishments in his lifetime. He held the office of censor in 169 BC and served twice as consul, first in 177 and then again in 163.

Due to his achievements, two triumphs were celebrated in his honor. In addition to his prestigious titles, Tiberius Sempronius was also known throughout Rome for his stellar personal character great was this level of respect that upon the death of Scipio Africanus (the conqueror of Hannibal), his daughter Cornelia was given to Tiberius as his bride. The nuptials took place even though Tiberius, who known to often oppose Scipio, was not considered to be a friend.

According to legend, one day Tiberius Sempronius came upon two snakes lying in his bed. He was instructed by the augurs to neither kill the pair nor let them live, but instead to consider each serpent separately. Knowing that by killing the female he would be bringing about the end of Cornelia's life, Tiberius who truly loved his wife chose to slay the male. Just as predicted, soon afterwards he lost his life (in about 150 BC) thus leaving behind Cornelia and their twelve children.

Cornelia, though romantically pursued by Ptolemy VI Philometor, who was the king of Egypt, chose to remain a widow. Unfortunately, she lost all of her children but three; her daughter Sempronia and her two sons, Tiberius and Gaius - The Gracchii.

Tiberius and Gaius, had much in common in the ways of courage, generosity, idealism and self discipline, but as they grew into manhood the pair also developed some very strong differences. Tiberius was calm and gentle while Gaius was high strung and overly passionate. During public speeches Tiberius was known to stand in one place and speak in a well mannered tone, while Gaius was said to be the first Roman to march up and down the rostra violently pulling his toga from his shoulder to add a dramatic effect to his words. Gaius would stimulate his audience and was impassioned to the point of exaggeration.

Tiberius was more conciliatory, carefully choosing his words and making sure to appeal to the men's sense of pity. Similar differences were also present in the brother's characters. Tiberius was known to be mild and reasonable while Gaius was considered to be compulsive and harsh. Many times Gaius, against his better judgment allowed himself to be so carried away by anger that his speaking voice would rise to a high pitch and the foundation of his argument would eventually be lost in a barrage of abuse.


Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiberius_Gracchus_Major


Roman Trade, Industry and Labor

2-09f

Roman Cives mosaic

by Marcus Audens


Part II: Population

By the standards of the modern day the death and birthrates of the Roman world were extremely high. The Roman endured many concerns that we don’t even consider in many parts of our world such as incurable sickness, long term suffering, and sudden death from causes usually unknown or wrongly defined.

In their turn the Roman culture dealt with these problems and tragedies in a variety of ways, some being familiar to us today and some lost in the mists of time. They sought to handle these concerns with a mixture of religious beliefs, magic, medicine, rituals, sacrifices, prayers, and often with cruelty. By many different combinations of the above methods they hoped to be able to control both the natural forces of the world as well as those who seemed to be supernatural.

The average life from birth to death was approximately twenty-five years, and many children died in infancy, while many adults died in the years of their prime. In order to make sense of these figures we must visualize a culture and society together with an economy which was filled with a much greater aspect of uncertainty than we envision today.

However, this world of uncertainty still had it’s plan and structure: most women spent their lives in child-rearing, most men inherited whatever status, property, and occupation that they were to have from their elders at an early age. As a consequence the turnover between generations was much more rapid than the present day. Even so, the opportunities for change were severely handicapped by the following concerns: technology level, the passage of the word of new technical ideas by word of mouth predominantly, and by the social rigidities brought about by a society which was fast in the grip of an “inherited status.”

The Roman population also set some very broad limits to production as well as consumption. From the limited information that is presently in our hands it seems reasonable to say that the population of the Italian Peninsula was approximately five million people in 225 B.C. This figure was however, was exclusive of Sicily and Sardinia.

By the year 27 B.C. Italy’s population had increased by two million people. This tremendous leap in the population was due mainly to two different processes: the first was the importation of vast numbers of slaves from conquered territories, and the second was the tremendous growth with the city of Rome itself, which had about one million people in the last century of BC. This was equivalent to London, England in 1800 or New York City in 1860. Therefore the impact on labor, trade, and industry from this metropolitan market can well be imagined. During this same period within Italy the slave population had risen to over two million souls.

Seen from a different view it can be said that migration had redistributed labor from the surrounding provinces that Rome had conquered to the Italian peninsula. Moreover the move of labor was directed from the countryside to the towns.


Reference: Michael Grant and Rachel Kitzinger, Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean - Greece and Rome, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1985.


History of the Gallo-Roman Period

2-09g

Roman bridge near modern Narbonne

by Marcus Audens


Part I: 125 B.C. to 52 B.C.

The conquest of Gaul can be said to have been the most prosperous enterprise undertaken by Roman arms. This enterprise actually started with trade in 125 B.C. and later when the Roman Republic began to fear for it’s lucrative tin trade route from Spain to Italy through the Greek trading colony of Massalia (modern Marseille), which was threatened by the large Celtic Tribes of the Massif Central. These tribes were the Alverni, Allobroges, and the Saluvii. Tin, Iron, and Copper drew Rome to Gaul and to neighboring lands and held it there, although exploitation now meant conquest and later annexation.

It was, however, a long road from the cautious colonial venture of the Republican Roman Senate to the omnipresent paternalism of the emperors. In 121 B.C. the Senate sanctioned a Roman protectorate over Massalia, it’s hinterland, and it’s coast, and less willingly in 118 B.C. the establishment of a colony west of the Rhone River at Narbo Martius (modern Narbonne).

The new province called Narbonensis, soon became very rich as the briefest inspection of the monuments still standing in modern Provence reveals. Senatorial rather than Imperial Narbonensis retained the flavor of republican institutions that was to distinguish it from the rest of Gaul.

Not Gauls, but Germans caused Julius Caesar to move North with his legions, in 58 B.C. and to bring all of what is now France and more besides under Roman protection by 51 B.C. His expedition was a military operation, he first unopposed and even welcomed by the Gallic chieftains in their hill forts. The protective personal powers of the emperors, backed by force of arms was to remain the distinctive aspect of Rome for the Celts of Gallia Comata as Gaul beyond Narbonensis was termed. In the work of De Bella Gallico (GALLIC WAR, CAESAR’S COMMENTARIES), Julius told the story of the conquest.

He was the first to grasp that if Gaul was worth having, it was worth protecting: that it’s boundaries must not stop short of the Alps, the Rhine River and the Atlantic Ocean. Julius’ statement, “Gallius est omnis divisu in partes tres.” (The whole of Gaul is divided into three parts) and his work lay behind Augustus’ division of Gallia Cromata into three great provinces Gallia Belgica, Gallia Lugdunensis, and Aquitania between 27 and 12 B.C.

Starting from Julius’ work the emperors (not the Senate) were to Romanize the tribal zones; to move the Celtic Chieftains down from hill settlements like Bibracte, to new towns on lower ground; and to give them the government of the civitas, whereby, through a sort of political fiction, not merely the tribal area but the tribe itself became a city to be administered within a town or towns within the area. But all of Gaul, Cromata, or not was taxed.

Lugdunum (modern Lyon), one of the very few Roman colonies in Gaul outside of Narbonensis, was the fiscal hub, and the site of the mint. There also the chieftains of the sixty Gallic civitates enjoyed the privilege of a national assembly, where they could feel themselves one under Rome and unite in emperor worship.


Reference: The Encyclopedia Americana, Vol. 11, "History of the Gallo-Roman Period 125 B.C. to 52 B.C.," M. Wallace-Hadrill, 1962 Edition.


Marcus Aurelius: Meditations

2-09h

The Emperor, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

by Marcus Audens


Your Duty To Be A Good Man

"Even though you burst with indignation, they will still carry on regardless. First do not be upset: all things follow the nature of the Whole, and in a little while you will be no one and nowhere, as is true now even of Hadrian and Augustus. Next concentrate on the matter in hand and see it for what it is. Remind yourself of your duty to be a good man and rehearse what man's nature demands: then do it straight and unswerving, or say what you best think right. Always though in kindness, integrity, and sincerity.”


Reference: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 8, verses 4 and 5


Roman Empire Word Find


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